Earl was not only one of the younger delegates at the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations in Dubai, but one of those people we met who are already very passionate about Entrepreneurship. Naturally, Earl was a delegate in the Entrepreneurship panel. Shortly before the conference he participated in a Summer School programme at Harvard University in Cambridge (Massachusetts).
[elbenomics]: Was HPAIR AConf 2013 your first conference participation and do you have plans to attend similar events in the future?
[Earl]: HPAIR AConf 2013 was not my first conference (it was my first HPAIR though), it was in fact my second conference. My first conference experience was when I attended the 16th World Business Dialogue (WBD), and it was that experience that had “exposed” me to the world of student conferences.
But certainly, after my experience at the WBD and HPAIR I am eager to attend more conferences and meet more and more amazing people from different parts of the world.
Who impressed you the most during the HPAIR AConf 2013?
My favorite speaker during the conference was Brett Van Zuiden (CEO and Co-Founder of Ink). And what really makes him so memorable for me was that he gave some very interesting pieces of advice.
I was in the Entrepreneurship panel, and as you can suspect, the panel was composed mainly of entrepreneurs, during the 5 days of conference, if you were to ask any of the panelists what their best advice for future entrepreneurs would be, they would have all probably have said “just go for it”, they would have encouraged you to take that “leap of faith” into making your own startup. But when it was Brett’s turn to speak (he was actually the last to do so) he gave everyone a splash of cold water. Instead of telling everyone to “just go for it”, he told everyone (in an entrepreneurship panel mind you) that creating a startup would be a bad idea and that everyone in the room should stay clear of making a startup.
This was a very interesting thing to hear during an entrepreneurship panel, and to some it was actually quite appalling. But few can actually argue with the logic that followed Brett’s assertion. Brett asserted that people shouldn’t create startups for the wrong reasons (i.e. Money, Prestige, to “be your own boss”, etc.), but instead people should create startups for the right reasons. And to take from Brett’s speech, those reasons are:
1) There is a problem in society that you need to fix
2) The only way to fix this problem is through a startup
3) You are willing to dedicate the next 8-10 years of your life to this startup.
That speech by Brett was probably the most inspiring and the most memorable speech of the conference. But then again that is just in my humble opinion.
Imagine you are the organizer of the next HPAIR Conference in Asia. Who would be your preferred speaker for the Closing Ceremony and where would it take place?
If I were the organizer (and thank goodness I’m not, because that is a hard job to do!), then my most preferred speaker for the Closing Ceremony would have to be Prof. John Lagerwey from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is a professor of religion at CUHK, and although his specialty is Chinese history and religion, he has a lot to teach us about how we can view Asia in general. He believes in looking to the past to understand the present and future. He believes that it is in the past that shapes how we behave and the cultures that we follow and that it is very important for us to understand these views so that we may understand each other and be able to live together.
As for where the vent should be, it doesn’t matter. What does matter are all the great people that HPAIR is known for being able to gather in one place. It’s not the place that makes the conference, it’s the people.